San Francisco Opera’s new Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater features a Meyer Sound Constellation® acoustic system, custom designed to provide the showcase venue with a range of acoustic environments to support the adventurous exploration of operatic programming for new audiences.
San Francisco Opera (SF Opera) is the first opera company to rely upon Constellation. Located in the newly renovated Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera, the 299-seat Atrium Theater is designed for multiple configurations, providing both performer and audience members with a very personal approach to opera. Constellation’s unique ability to shape acoustics on demand allows SF Opera to expand from traditional theatre-style seating to cabaret settings with café tables and in-the-round performances, or even edgier configurations.
“If we really want this to be a gateway for new audiences and an exciting place for new ideas, the Wilsey Center must be state-of-the-art,” says David Gockley, general director of SF Opera. “Top on my list was a Meyer Sound Constellation system to anchor our acoustic foundation. Not only could we guarantee terrific acoustics for now, but we would also leave a legacy for future generations to dream in ways we cannot presently imagine.”
Elkhanah Pulitzer takes on programming responsibilities for the new Atrium Theater under SF Opera’s new production division, SF Opera Lab. She approaches the Atrium Theater as an incubator and testing ground for new ideas—a litmus test for what opera can be in the future. “With Constellation, I can literally think outside of the box,” she says. “I’m no longer limited by the shape of the room, or whether the acoustics will support a new performance idea. Now the theatre is a real partner to the company as we push the boundaries of performance and create new experiences for new audiences.”
The newly christened Wilsey Center for Opera is the result of a $21 million renovation of the of the fourth floor and basement of the Beaux-Arts style Veterans Building, a historic Civic Center landmark that recently completed an extensive seismic retrofit. After six decades as the first home of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Veterans Building fourth floor sat for many years as an underused and neglected space for occasional City Hall offices and law library. SF Opera selected the award-winning architectural firm Mark Cavagnero Associates to transform the venue into a state-of-the-art theatre and education/rehearsal studio.